[tex-live] ifxetex package missing from collection-xetex

Mojca Miklavec mojca.miklavec.lists at gmail.com
Fri Feb 2 15:48:39 CET 2007

On 2/1/07, Reinhard Kotucha wrote:

> Phil, as you know I'm not a Windows user (except at work).  Most
> Windows users use MikTeX (I had been told).  I don't know anything
> about MikTeX but I assume that you tried it.  Can you explain briefly
> why you prefer TeXLive over MikTeX?  Many MikTeX users I know never
> tried TeXLive and I don't know anyone who is using TeXLive on Windows
> but has experience with MikTeX too.  I'm quite interested to know what
> people like/dislike in MikTeX/TeXLive.

This is a bit off-topic, but since you asked:

There is one strong reason why I *love* MikTeX - automatic recognition
of missing files and automatic installation of them:

- If one runs "texexec" for example, MikTeX figures out that ConTeXt
is not installed on the system and installs it on the fly

- Insead of "metric (TFM) not found" or "file not found, please type
another name:" errors, which are common on practically any other TeX
distribution, the necassary package gets installed on the fly. (Most
newbies have no idea what to do when something like that happens

That way MikTeX can be held "reasonably" small after the first
installation, while still covering "every" TeX package. One doesn't
need to sacrifice 2GB to compile a simple LaTeX document. (And since
it's so widespread, it's probably well supported by many LaTeX
editors. I cannot say much about that since I don't use any of those
any more.)

Also, a lot of work has been devoted for improving Yap (dvi viewer).

I'm really looking forward to the day when the abovementioned
functionality will be available on every TeX distribution ;)

Some drawbacks of MikTeX that I experienced:

- Packages are really up-to-date (if authors upload them on CTAN), but
it takes quite some time before a new binary is available - I remember
that I needed to wait for a long time before MikTeX got rid of pdfTeX
1.21a which didn't support transparent PNGs, it will take another year
before XeTeX will be available, and I have no idea how long it will
take before MikTeX will support luatex ...

- Since MikTeX is not compatible with other distributions, it's not
that easy to simply take a binary from another distribution (like I
took XeTeX from Akira's W32TeX and it worked out-of-the-box with
standalone ConTeXt). Also, settings are controlled in a different way
than in "standard TeX distr.", but that's just a question of which
distribution you're used to, you cannot call that a drawback.

- Some more, but not worth mentioning.

And: MikTeX is straightforward to download and install. Downloading
2GB for TeXLive might be slightly less convenient, plus no automatic
updates etc.

I wish I would be able to tell you more about TeXLive, but when I
tried to install it last year, it didn't work (it might have been due
to the fact that my DVD reader didn't support double layer DVDs, I
don't really know). And when I tried to install it two weeks ago, it
caused me some problems as well.

I used a combination of MikTeX and standalone ConTeXt (if one failed
to work, the other one did the job or vice versa).


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